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Opening a Thai bank account

Travel Forums Asia Opening a Thai bank account

1. Posted by HaadRinGuide (Travel Guru 542 posts) 6y

Does anyone know how easy it is for someone from England to open a Thai bank account? I used to use Nationwide but they've recently started issuing bank cards which can't be used overseas (rubbish customer service in this day and age, in my opinion) so that's why I'm now considering other options.

Anyway, how would I go about opening up a bank account with a Thai bank? Is it even possible and if so are there any charges involved?

[ Edit: Edited on 27-Aug-2010, at 04:27 by Emmett70 ]

2. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 459 posts) 6y

Any Visa, Maestro Credit or Debit should work in a Thai ATM.
- you're the first person I've come across with this problem - so why don't you get a card from Nationwide that works abroad? i'm sure they must have one.

However ALL foreign cards are charged an extra 150 baht fee in Thailand - by almost ALL the main banks with the exception of a few "fringe" banks.

opening an A/C in Thailand is very hit and miss.

It would be best if you had a non-immigrant "O" or "B" visa but you might get away with a tourist visa.

You'll need a form from the police (I think ) that says where you are living/staying - somewhere to send mail..........
not to difficult.

You don't need a lot of money.

If one bank says "NO" then try another - even different branches of the same bank will give differing answers.

you can use your ATM card in most bigger shops, hotels, petrol stations and to top up your phone and pay bills; so if you succeed it is worth while.

3. Posted by Curt1591 (Respected Member 230 posts) 6y

Is Nationwide the only bank in the UK?

I have never understood the loyalty that people have for banks. If your bank isn't satisfactory, switch to one who offers better service. I'm not familiar with UK banking, but it does sound pretty dismal.

If you use a "credit" card to withdraw cash, it will not only be hit by any fees, but will also start accruing interest from the moment the money is withdrawn.

AEON, a lending institution, operates the only fee-free ATMs. Unfortunately, unless familiar with Bangkok, and the machines, odds are you'll never spot one. They are few and far between.

Yes, dealing with Thai institutions is a thrill. Different branches, and even different people within the branches, will have different rules. Sometimes, you'll spend a afternoon, heading from person to person, to wind up with the original person and a cheerful " Oh, I can do that!"

[ Edit: Edited on 29-Aug-2010, at 17:31 by Curt1591 ]

4. Posted by HaadRinGuide (Travel Guru 542 posts) 6y

Thanks for the reply wildfk. Yeah, Nationwide still offer Visa ATM cards that work overseas, but only on your main current account. I like to take two ATM cards with me when I travel so that I've got a back-up if I encounter problems with my first card, so that's why I'm exploring other possibilities.

Also, according to the woman in the branch Nationwide are phasing out Cirrus and Plus which seems like bad business sense to me. Cirrus and Plus ATMs are just as widespread as Visa ATMs so from a customer's point of view it was nice to have an alternative option to Visa machines. And from Nationwide's point of view, Visa are hardly renowned for the cheapness of their fees, so whatever Visa charge Nationwide for overseas ATM usage I would guess that Cirrus and Plus would probably charge less.

Although admittedly, the woman in the branch seemed more interested in going on the defensive and spouting off about improved loan rates and mortgage rates than in answering my questions properly, so she might not have known what she was on about.

5. Posted by HaadRinGuide (Travel Guru 542 posts) 6y

Curtis1591, there are several banks in the UK but as wildfk mentioned since last year they all get charged with a 150 Baht charge now for making withdrawals at Thai ATMs. On top of this all UK banks also apply charges of their own, so it works out quite expensive using a UK card to make withdrawals in Thailand, which is why I'm looking into opening a Thai bank account.

My loyalty to Nationwide was based on the fact that they were the only UK bank that didn't apply charges to withdrawals made overseas (although this is changing from 1st Nov). Not really loyalty I suppose, just common sense and self interest to use the branch which charged me the least. They also used to give you a card which worked on the Cirrus and Plus networks, whether or not that was your main bank account.

However, as mentioned they've now changed their policy on this which is why I am now exploring other possibilities. Don't worry, I've got no loyalty to them now. When they offered the best deal for my purposes I was happy to be their customer. Now that they've became rubbish I'll obviously take my business elsewhere.

Anyway, given that all overseas banks get charged 150 Baht now it makes sense to look into opening a Thai bank account if possible. My initial enquiries with Ayuthaya bank (who I've always found reliable and who were one of the last main Thai banks to introduce the 150 Baht charge) have revealed that it's possible to open a Thai bank account but you need a work permit or a business visa.

But thanks for the advice wildfk regarding trying different banks and different branches. I think I'll give that a try anyway once I get to Thailand. Do you know what the fees are for transferring money from a UK bank to a Thai bank?

6. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 459 posts) 6y

Fees are up to the UK bank.

If it's a small amount you might consider taking the money out of an ATM in Thailand - usually a limit of 20k.
otherwise for larger amouints you'll need to transfer, which carries a fee of around 20 quid I think

7. Posted by jdjeny (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y

Dear friend it not an easy task to open an bank account in any country for a foreign national, But i know the bank name where i hope your account will be open if you from England to open a Thai bank account? the name of the bank is standard-chartered. Thanks.
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